Fat that builds up on the legs is called subcutaneous fat. This type of fat is right beneath the skin, and it does not raise your risk for chronic conditions as stomach fat does, because it is out of the way of your organs. However, leg flab can have a negative impact on your self-esteem. The good news is, you can tone your legs with the right training.
Toned legs have a low amount of fat and defined, lean muscles. When you have existing flab, you need to perform cardiovascular exercise to remove it. Cardio burns fat in your legs and throughout the rest of your body. Multiple forms are effective, such as running, fast-paced walking, elliptical training, stair climbing, cycling and rowing. These exercises not only burn fat, but they also work your leg muscles.
Duration of Exercise
The length of your workouts is another factor to consider when it comes to reducing flab. If you follow a sporadic workout schedule and do not exercise long enough, your leg flab will remain. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 60 to 90 minutes of physical activity performed five days a week to lose weight. Performing several workouts throughout the day to accumulate your time will burn flab just as well as long sessions.
Effect of Interval Training
Steady-paced cardio burns fat all over your body, including that on your legs, but you can boost your results by doing interval training. This is performed by bouncing back and forth between high and low intensity for the duration of your workout. Start with a light warmup, finish with a light cool-down and follow a one-to-two ratio of high to low intensity. For example, run as fast as you can for 30 seconds, jog lightly for 60 seconds and repeat.
Strength Training for Legs
The quadriceps, hamstrings and calves comprise the leg musculature. The way to give your legs a lean and defined look is by doing exercises that target these muscles. Adding muscle also gives your resting metabolic rate a boost, which further leads to fat reduction. Perform exercises like squats, lunges, stepups and calf raises to target all of your leg muscles. Aim for 10 to 12 reps, do four or five sets, and work out two or three days a week.
To build your muscles properly, pay strict attention to your form. Not moving through a full range of motion, for example, will compromise your progress. For lunges, stand with your feet hip-width apart and rest your arms at your sides or place your hands on your hips. Keeping a straight back and tight abs, step forward with your right foot and lower yourself down by bending both knees. Once your right thigh parallels the floor and your left knee is a couple of inches above the floor, step back to the starting point. Repeat with your left leg and continue to alternate back and forth in a controlled manner for up to 10 reps per side.